What We Did:
We went to the round on Friday and got up early enough to get to the course around 7 a.m. Upon arrival, we went straight to the course gates to wait for them to open so we could go put our chairs down. They opened the gates around 7:45 a.m.
Our plan was to put our chairs at 16 and go to the gift shop, and we did exactly that. After shopping, we got breakfast and walked the course. We wanted to see some of the course highlights, like where Bubba got out of the woods in 2012, Amen Corner and hole 5. We started on the back 9, but eventually found our way back to the driving range at the front of the course.
We sat in the stands and watched Rory warm up right in front of us. We also saw Spieth, Adam Scott, Matt Kucher, Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler. It was prime viewing, especially if you’re golf obsessed like my dad and brother. Then we stood at 3 and 4 and watched the morning groups come through. We got more food and walked 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 where we ran into Phil Mickleson hitting out of the trees on 9, so we stopped for him for a minute.
Finally, we made our way back up to the clubhouse where we saw Tiger leave the clubhouse for his tee time. We followed Tiger for a few holes and sat in the grand stands at 4 for a few groups and went back to our chairs at 16 for a little bit.
Then we walked more of the back 9 as the day started wrapping up. We went up the back and stopped at the Founders Circle for a photo—the one we were allowed!
Then we made our way to Amen Corner where we watched Tiger and Justin Thomas come through. After they played Amen Corner, we went back to our chairs and enjoyed the last few groups before we called it a (long) day and headed for the hotel.
What We Liked:
- The course (duh) and grounds. It was as immaculate as we imagined.
- The efficiency of the entire operation. We never waited more than 5 minutes in any lines for food, bathrooms or the gift shop.
- The food.
- The staff was so friendly and all were very knowledgeable of the course.
- Everything is Masters branded and in that rich green color. It felt as exclusive and world class as they say it is.
- The decorum. From the bathrooms to the employees to the prices, everything was treated as part of a great tradition that was to be respected and celebrated.
- How close we could be to the players.
- Our fellow patrons. Everyone was excited to be there and willing to help a fellow patron out. The behavior of the patrons spoke to the level of the tournament. Everyone was quiet when needed and respectful of all play.
What We Recommend:
- The egg salad sandwiches.
- Getting to the course before it opens, setting your chair, going to the gift shop and grabbing breakfast.
- Walking the course early if it’s your first time. It will continue to get more crowded and the amount of people on the grounds won’t give you as good of a look.
- Keeping your drink cups as souvenirs.
- Standing at corner where the green of 3 and the tee box of 4 meet.
- Wearing comfy walking shoes that you won’t mind getting a little dirty.
- Getting your free photo taken at Founders Circle.
- Being in shape. The course is extremely hilly.
- Asking the gift shop workers what the most popular items are. I got a thick t-shirt I never would have because of this.
- Seeing where Bubba got out of the woods in 2012.
What We Don’t Recommend:
- Carrying your purchases if you have a lot of stuff. It’s way easier to ship your stuff home, unless you’re planning on wearing it right then.
Food and Restrooms:
Collectively we had the sausage biscuit, chicken biscuit, pimento cheese sandwich, egg salad sandwich, sweet tea, chocolate chip cookie, brownie, peach ice cream sandwich and the ham and cheese sandwich. We all agreed that the egg salad was the best and the peach ice cream sandwich is a must-have. Trey really liked the ham and cheese sandwich, and I thought the pimento was really good. Then I had the egg salad. It was the best egg salad sandwich I’d ever had. Highly recommend.
The prices were as cheap as advertised. I think sandwiches were $1.50. The concessions were always pretty close and even if there was a line, it was worth getting in because it was so fast. Everything was prepackaged, so you just walked down the line and grabbed what you wanted, and went to the cashier. They had everything with Masters branded packaging—even chips and Moon Pies! There was also Advil for sale up with the packaged fruit, carrots and sweets. Once you got out of the concessions pavilion, there were areas to add condiments or stand at bistro tables and eat. Everyone at The Masters is very nice, (because you’re at The Masters!) so we shared tables with random people.
One thing we knew we wanted to do was to save our cups. The cups your drinks come in are really nice plastic cups that have the logo and year on them. I made myself the cup carrier for our trip so that the guys didn’t have to worry about them. We ended up with 7 white cups. We didn’t drink beer, but I think beer came in green cups. You could walk around and see people with stacks and stacks of cups. I decided that the reason some people got so drunk was to have the cups as souvenirs. When you have breakfast, lunch and dinner at a place, you’re going to end up with a good amount of cups to take home. Plus, the drinks are so cheap that it’s basically a free and functional souvenir.
I liked how functional the set up of the patron areas were. Near every concession was a bathroom. By 16 there was a mini clubhouse area that had a full-size gift shop, concessions and nice bathrooms. All bathrooms were nice, but this was a dedicated area with seating for eating. This is where we shopped and had breakfast. It wasn’t extremely crowded early in the morning, and when I went back in the afternoon, the gift shop and concessions were clear. Other than the front entrance and this area, the concessions and bathrooms were pavilions, however they were the nicest pavilion bathrooms you could ever imagine. The lines moved quickly, especially for women’s because we were the minority group, and the attendants inside were making sure everyone got in and out as quickly as they could. They were nice, but didn’t rush us. Plus, in the women’s restroom there were free products and lotion for anyone who needed them. It was very impressive.
Holy gift shop. Never have I seen so many men shopping as feverishly as I did! In all seriousness, it was a great experience. We walked right into the shop, which was broken into different categories. There was men’s apparel, women’s apparel, children’s apparel, hats, t-shirts, men’s clubhouse apparel, drinkware and home gifts, and small gifts near the checkout lines. I followed along on their Instagram account, which shows you all kinds of things for sale in the shop. One of the items I saw on the Instagram I ended up buying! I bee-lined for them when I got in there. They give you a shopping bag for ease—take it. Then you can shop off the racks of clothing items around the store, but they also have a bar where all the shirts, hats and other apparel is numbered and displayed on the wall. You tell the employee behind the bar what number you want and how many and they give it to you. These items tended to be the nicer items, like nicer hats and pullovers.
Once you got everything you wanted, you got in line to check out. They lined the checkout area with smaller items, like lanyards, ball markers, koozies, etc. Even in a long line, we didn’t wait more than 5 minutes to check out. They had one person scanning and one person bagging your items, which sped up the process. After you paid, you could go out the doors and to the attached shipping area. This was like a concession stand at a basketball game. You just walk up with your bags and they put them in a box, get your address and you’ll get your things in about 3 days. I decided to wear the Masters pullover I got since it was a little chilly, so I gave them my Vineyard Vines Shep Shirt and they added it to the box to ship home for me. According to a worker there, shipping to a company is cheaper and they ship based on weight of the box. Keep that in mind!
We shopped first thing in the morning after dropping our chairs at 16 on the back gift shop. I went back in the afternoon to make sure we had everything we wanted, and then once again as we left. When we were leaving, we stopped at the front shop since we hadn’t been in and they just built that building. It was bigger than the back shop, but had the same items. Throughout the course there are smaller kiosks where you could get a hat or sunglasses if you needed them. People carried bags, but we elected not to because we knew we would be walking all day. If you are willing to sit at your chairs with your bags, then not shipping shouldn’t be a problem.
Golf Viewing Tips:
When the gates open, head straight to the place you want to set your chair. Make sure you have a business card or piece of paper with your name in the slot on the back of your chair. There are designated areas to set your chair down, so you’ll know if you’re allowed to sit there. You just follow the painted aisles on the ground to get to your chair destination. Once you set it down, truly no one will touch it. There might be people sitting in your chair when you come back to it, but that’s not frowned upon. Simply tell them that those are your chairs and they’ll relocate. You are free to use someone else’s chair as long as you get up when they arrive.
We sat on 16 across from the green, which was a great seat. We arrived early in the day and got towards the back of the seating area because it was higher on the hill. When we placed our chairs there was still a lot of room in front of us. When we came back later in the day, there wasn’t an open spot anywhere. The hilly terrain makes a natural amphitheater when everyone is seated. We stood behind the chairs at Amen Corner for a while. I think if we were to go back we would place our chairs at Amen Corner and watch the par 3 on 12.
Another good spot is the corner of 3 and 4 because you can watch them putt on 3 and play all of 4. 18 was packed nearly all day long, so you would need to go straight there if you want to drop your chair on 18.
The course looks beautiful on TV, but they aren’t lying when they say TV doesn’t do it justice. The course is extremely hilly. You better be in pretty good shape to walk this all day. The green on 6 has a ginormous hill, but it looks tiny on TV. I couldn’t believe the difference after seeing it in person. It makes that putt that Rickie made on Friday look even more impressive. There is a rule against running, but honestly I don’t know how you could run that course unless you’re going downhill. We were all sore the next day from climbing the hills.
One of our favorite parts of the day was sitting in the stands at the driving range. Rory was right in front of us, so we got to watch his warm up. Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson, Jordan Spieth, Louis Oosthuizen, Adam Scott and Matt Kuchar were warming up at the same time. It was really cool to be so close to them and watch them warm up. Rory was our favorite to watch, and he impressed. He was doing a distance drill where he was hitting his irons at pins set up the distance of the range and at one point, his ball hit the pin. The crowd murmured with admiration and even applauded. Before the first group tees off you definitely should get a spot on the driving range. That’s something that isn’t always televised, so it feels really behind the scenes.
They had several measures of security to get into Augusta, but we only had to go through the metal detector once. They had police dogs sniffing the crowd and even some heavily armed police officers. It was very impressive. Right outside the gates is a booth where you can check items that aren’t allowed. I was nervous about my Apple Watch, so I asked the check booth employees if I could have it before I went through security. Apple Watches are allowed, if you’re wondering. We walked right up to the security point and got through in less than 30 seconds. Arriving so early that there wasn’t a line was helpful, but I am confident it would have been fast even if there were a line.
I didn’t bring a purse. I put my small Louis Vuitton key cles in the ticket lanyard we had to wear. I only carried cups and the spectator guide the whole day, so my hands were pretty freed up. I did see women with purses that I thought were bigger than they allowed, however they may have had special circumstances. I preferred to not have a purse since we walked so much. It would have been more of a hassle than it was worth.
We were impressed with how close we were to the players. I think because we were at a Major, we expected there to be a little more separation of players and patrons.
We watched Phil on 9 hit into a tree that ricocheted into a very large bush right by us. We walked over to the bush and Trey and dad and some other guys started looking for the ball with Phil. They guy that found it goes, “It’s right here Phil.” Phil took it from him and went up to take a drop. We were right with him and his caddy this whole time. It was pretty cool.
When we were up by the clubhouse, they had us stop walking and we hear someone go, “Tiger’s walking out!” We were some of the first people they stopped, so we got to form the aisle Tiger walked through. We were front row for Tiger’s entrance. He had like four security guards with him as he walked through. It was surreal seeing him in person for the first time. It kind of made him real when he has only lived in photo in my mind. Before he walked out, Fleetwood came out. It was pretty quiet at this point, so Trey goes, “Let’s go Tommy!” Fleetwood turned and nodded at Trey.
On the corner of 3 and 4, we were on the ropes of the turn from 3 to 4 so the players would walk right by us to go up to the tee box. This is where we were closest to a lot of the players in the morning groups. Trey said, “You got it Justin,” as Justin Rose walked by and Justin turned and nodded at Trey. It was fun cheering them on as they walked by. Spieth was pretty mad as he walked up to 4 and passed us. He had double bogied 1, bogied 2 and pared 3. He was getting back on track, but we all know he’s a pretty passionate guy and was a little upset still at his play up to that point.
On 4 Jon Rahm was chipping on to the green, but he didn’t like his chip so he threw his club … then kicked his bag … then picked up his club and threw it again. We were all the way up by the tee box, so there was some commentary among the group about that. I think he ended up making a par on the hole, but I could be wrong. I think it ended up alright for him despite throwing his club twice and kicking his bag.
Going to The Masters with my dad and brother was surreal. I think we all couldn’t believe that we were there. I highly recommend going if you ever have the chance, especially if you’re a golf fan. My dad and brother love that now they can watch it on TV and know what the hole looks like in person. It lived up to and exceeded expectations on every level. Bravo, Augusta National on putting on such an amazing event!
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Holly Hoehner has her bachelor’s degree in public relations from the University of Oklahoma. She considers herself more of a Russell Westbrook than a Kevin Durant and enjoys learning about and participating in the digital age, blogging about anything that comes to her mind and creating witty Instagram captions. Holly was raised a die-hard Sooner fan in Edmond, OK.